NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2007 Ford Crown Victoria

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2007 Ford Crown Victoria, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Steering Column Shaft Obstruction

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE14021

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 07, 2014
    • Date Closed: November 21, 2014
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System
    Steering

    Summary: On July 7, 2014 the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation based on five complaints (VOQs) alleging incidents ofinterference between dislodged exhaust manifold heat shields and the lower steering shaft/knuckle, including one alleging the interference resulted in a crash on a highway entrance ramp. Since opening this investigation, ODI has received four additional owner complaints.One indicated that the shield was removed before binding could occur.The other three occurred at low speed and produced some momentary steering binding that was overcome by the driver when additional steering effort was applied.Once the shield was repaired or removed, the steering returned to normal.The single incident ODI identified as a possible crash (VOQ No. 10578715) related to this condition could not be verified and the description of the crash in the complaint was not supported by the police accident report.No additional crash allegations have been identified related to the alleged defect condition.Information provided by Ford in its September 10, 2014 response to ODI's information request letter identified 10 additional incidents resulting in a low rate of 1.6 incidents per 100,000 vehicles sold in vehicles ranging from 7 to 11 years in service.Six of these incidents were reported by a single source, a state police fleet that corrected the problems in March 2011 and has not reported any additional failures since.Ford also reported 5 warranty claims, but these incidents occurred at very low mileages and appeared to be caused by loose or missing heat shield attachment hardware rather than the corrosion condition that was the cause of the more recent incidents and the focus of this investigation.This investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The Agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.The following VOQs are associated with this investigation:10643753, 10615584, 10611362, 10610451, 10578715, 10479681, 10471833, 10317493.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Loss of Steering Control

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA13004

    Component(s): Steering
    Steering:Column

    Summary: In its recall notice dated August 26, 2013, Ford Motor Company (Ford) notified NHTSA of a safety defect condition that may result in loss of steering in approximately 355,000 model year (MY) 2005 through 2011 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles built at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant, MY 2005 through 2007 Lincoln Town Car vehicles built at the Wixom Assembly Plant, and certain MY 2008 through 2011 Lincoln Town Car vehicles built at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant and that are currently registered or were originally sold in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, or Wisconsin (NHTSA Recall 13V-385, Ford Recall 13S08).Ford's recall addresses a corrosion related defect in the lower intermediate shaft that may result in separation of the steering column lower bearing and loss of steering control.Ford's recall will remedy the defect condition by instructing dealers to replace the lower intermediate shaft and to inspect and repair the upper intermediate shaft and steering column lower bearing as necessary.A retaining clip will be installed if the lower bearing has separated.Ford's investigation of steering column separations in the subject vehicles identified a defect condition in the lower intermediate shaft that could result in separation of the column lower bearing.According to Ford's August 26th defect report, severe corrosion of the lower intermediate shaft may cause the lower intermediate shaft swing link joint(s) to stiffen or seize.Ford determined that forces acting on the upper intermediate shaft because of seized swing links may eventually cause the upper intermediate shaft to collapse, which may result in separation of the column lower bearing and loss of steering control.Analysis of ODI complaints and Ford complaints and warranty identified 22 incidents of steering separation (12 complaints and 10 non-duplicative warranty claims) that may be related to the lower intermediate shaft defect condition.All 22 incidents involved vehicles in the recall region, where 419,210 or roughly half (52%), of the subject vehicles were sold.Ford's investigation also determined that column lower bearing separation may occur in vehicles that experienced upper intermediate shaft collapse in prior frontal impact collisions if the shaft was not properly diagnosed and repaired.Ford identified 13 steering separation incidents outside the recall region (6 complaints and 7 non-duplicative warranty claims) where 386,003 of the subject vehicles were sold.Ford did not find evidence of the lower intermediate shaft corrosion issue in these vehicles.Six of the vehicles had known prior collisions and the histories of the remaining 7 were unknown.To address concerns with possible steering separations in vehicles outside the region for safety recall 13V-385, Ford is conducting a Regional Program (13R01) to inspect and repair the steering assemblies of those vehicles as necessary.The lower intermediate shaft will be replaced only if it fails the inspection, the upper intermediate shaft will be repaired if it fails a Ford-specified measurement test.In the event the steering column lower bearings are found out of position, they will be re-seated and secured with a retaining clip.Based on Ford's field actions, this investigation is closed.The VOQs cited above can be viewed at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10505992, 10479893, 10477192, 10475950, 10474596, 10471184, 10347404.

  3. INVESTIGATION: Loss of Steering Control

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE12025

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 14, 2012
    • Date Closed: April 26, 2013
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Steering
    Steering:Column

    Summary: In the subject vehicles, the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and rack and pinion steering assembly consist of the steering column and an upper and lower intermediate shaft.A disconnection of any of these components from the steering system can create a loss of steering control.Allegations of a loss of steering control incidents reviewed during the Preliminary Evaluation PE12-025 appear to be related to a separation of the upper and lower shafts within the steering the column. In response to the Office of Defects Investigation's (ODI) Information Request (IR) during PE12-025, Ford provided 2 complaints and 9 warranty claims related to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles (see Figure 1 for an exemplar picture).ODI has received 5 complaints related to the alleged defect, including 1 related to an incident reported in one of the Ford complaints.The incident rate involving subject vehicles is 7.7 per 100,000 vehicles (15 total incidents).Five of the 15 incident vehicles were associated with a prior history report of a frontal impact incident.ODI also analyzed field data for MY 2005 through MY 2008 non-CVPI Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis models and MY 2009 through MY 2011 CVPI models, which use a similar steering column and intermediate shaft design. This analysis identified 4 reports from Ford and 2 complaints to ODI, including 1 duplicative of a complaint provided by Ford, resulting in 5 total incidents and an incident rate of 1.1 per 100,000 vehicles for a vehicle population of approximately 436,000 vehicles. In the peer vehicle analysis, 4 of 5 incident vehicles had a prior history report of a frontal impact incident.ODI also identified 42 reports (39 reports associated with subject vehicles and 3 reports associated peer vehicles) of the lower steering column shaft bearing displacement that did not result in complete separations of the upper to lower steering column shafts (see Figure 2). Vehicles with this condition were identified during inspections of police fleets or during vehicle repairs for complaints of looseness, binding or noise in the steering system while turning.This Preliminary Evaluation has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA13-004) has been opened to further assess the scope, frequency, consequence, and contributing factors to the steering column shaft separations.The VOQs associated with the opening of this investigation and a loss of steering control are: 10347404, 10474596, 10475950, 10477192, and 10479893.

  4. INVESTIGATION: TIRE VALVE CRACKING

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE08060

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: October 14, 2008
    • Date Closed: April 09, 2009
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Tires:Valve

    Summary: On October 14, 2008, ODI opened PE08-060 to investigate allegations of cracked and leaking snap-in tire valves in model year (MY) 2007 vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Company.the valves were supplied to Ford by topseal auto-parts, a subsidiary of the shanghai baolong automotive corporation in china.valves made by topseal for aftermarket sale were the subject of two recent safety recalls by tech international (08T-018) and dill air controls (08T-028), the latter of which was investigated by ODI in PE08-036 and EA08-022.the defect conditions addressed by the aftermarket tire valve recalls both involved inadequate resistance to ozone cracking due to issues with the supply of anti-ozonant chemicals to topseal for a period from July to mid-November 2006.the aftermarket valves were compounded with a blend of epdm and natural rubber, using a relatively low percentage of epdm (epdm provides inherent resistance to ozone cracking).hence, the need for anti-ozonant chemicals and the problems with cracking when those chemicals were missing or out of specification in some lots of valves.both recall campaigns involved inspection programs to identify and replace valves with visible surface cracking.although the topseal valves supplied to Ford also appear to have been affected by the anti-ozonant supply issues in mid to late-2006, Ford indicated that its valves were made at a different topseal production line and were compounded with a higher percentage of epdm rubber to meet more stringent specifications from Ford.ODI's analysis of complaint and warranty data provided by Ford showed that problems with cracked tire valves were significantly higher for MY 2007 vehicles produced from December 2006 through March 2007.Ford responded by implementing changes in its material specifications for snap-in rubber tire valves and also increasing the quality and acceptance standards for valves imported for use in its vehicles.while the complaint and warranty claim rates are elevated for subject vehicles produced from December 2006 through March 2007, the rates of leaking valves are well below one percent of production for each of the peak months for all of the affected models.a substantial majority of the subject vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) which warn the driver when any tire pressures drops below 25 percent of recommended inflation pressure. As outlined in a letter to ODI dated April 6, 2009, Ford has agreed to send letters to owners of certain MY 2007 and 2008 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles to provide information about the cracking concern. Letters will be sent to owners of vehicles built from November 2006 through May 2007.owners can opt for a free dealer inspection.valves exhibiting surface cracks or air leakage related to ozone attack will be replaced by Ford under its normal warranty terms.Ford expects to send the letter by approximately mid-May 2009. Based on the use of TPMS in the majority of subject vehicles and the relatively low rates of repairs associated with leaking valves and resultant tire damage, ODI believes that the actions Ford has agreed to take will provide effective and expeditious resolution for vehicles that were built during the period when valves with inadequate resistance to ozone cracking were most likely to have been used in vehicle production.further investigation of this matter would not be an efficient allocation of Agency resources.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.

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